June 2002 Disasters

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
  • June–early July, mainly western U.S.: Several major wildfires burned throughout the West and Southwest, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. The Hayman fire in the Pike National Forest consumed some 137,760 acres and 600 structures, making it the worst wildfire in Colorado's history. In central Ariz., the 85,000-acre Rodeo fire, which had already been declared the worst in Arizona's history, merged with the Chediski fire to form a raging inferno that consumed 468,638 acres and more than 400 structures. Large wildfires also burned in Alaska, southern Calif., N.M., Utah, and Ga.
  • June, central and southeast China: Torrential rainfall produced floods and mudslides that left more than 750 people dead and tens of thousands more homeless in Shaanxi, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces. Officials estimated that more than 5 million acres of crops had been destroyed, and numerous bridges, roads, and power and telephone lines had been wiped out.
  • June 20, northern Tanzania: 48 miners suffocated to death in a Tanzanite gemstone mine after a device used to pump oxygen into the mine failed. It is Tanzania's worst mining disaster since 1998, when 70 people died after heavy rains caused a mine to collapse.
  • June 20, Jixi, Heilongjian province, China: A gas explosion at the Chengzihe coal mine killed 111 people. China's mining industry is one of the deadliest; it is estimated that more than 5,000 mining-related deaths occurred in 2001.
  • June 21–29, southern Russia: Heavy rains caused the worst flooding in 10 years. Areas hardest hit were the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions, the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, and Kabardino-Balkaria. The flooding left 93 people dead and 87,000 homeless. Damages estimated at $385 million were expected to rise.
  • June 22, northwest Iran: Magnitude 6 earthquake flattened about 60 villages, killing at least 220 and leaving thousands homeless.
  • June 24, nr. Msagali, central Tanzania: Runaway passenger train collided with freight train on the same track, leaving some 200 dead.

See also Major Earthquakes Around the World 2002

See also Recent Volcanic Activity

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